Eating Disorders Research Roundup: February 23, 2024


What is new in research on eating disorders?

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science thodonal_AdobeStock

In this Research Roundup, we explore new studies on eating disorders, their connections to body shaming and the COVID-19 pandemic, and their prevalence in athletes and adolescents.

Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Eating Disorder and Comorbid Psychopathology in Adolescents With Anorexia Nervosa
This study investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on eating disorder (ED) features and psychopathology in female adolescents with anorexia nervosa (AN). It compared those recruited before and during the pandemic, finding that peri-pandemic participants with AN showed fewer ED symptoms and comorbid disorders at baseline, but had a less favorable clinical course over 1 year, possibly due to reduced access to health care facilities during the pandemic.

The investigators concluded that this suggests a complex interplay between pandemic-related factors such as social pressure, peer contact, parenting style, and health care access influencing the severity and trajectory of AN in adolescents.


Bracké K, Steegers C, van der Harst T, et al. The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on eating disorder features and comorbid psychopathology among adolescents with anorexia nervosa and matched controls: a comparative cohort design studyEat Weight Disord. 2024;29(1):13.

Body Shaming, Internalized Weight Biases, and Eating Disorders in Adolescents
This study explored the prevalence and effects of body shaming among adolescents, particularly focusing on weight-related body shaming. The study involved 919 high school students and found that 1 in 4 reported experiencing weight-related body shaming, with significant associations between body shaming and negative psychological outcomes such as eating disorder symptoms, body dissatisfaction, and internalized weight bias, especially among females.

“These findings, despite their cross-sectional nature, add an important contribution to the creation of quantitative empirical evidence on the phenomenon of body shaming,” the investigators concluded. “Its role in explaining eating disorders, both alone and with the mediation of internalized weight stigma, has been first proved and needs to be confirmed by longitudinal results.”


Cerolini S, Vacca M, Zegretti A, et al. Body shaming and internalized weight bias as potential precursors of eating disorders in adolescentsFront Psychol. 2024;15:1356647.

Self-Reported Disordered Eating Among Athletes
This meta-analysis aimed to determine the prevalence of self-reported disordered eating among athletes and identify associated risk factors. It found a mean self-reported disordered eating prevalence of 19.23% among 70,957 athletes from 177 studies, with variations across countries, sport types, and assessment tools. Factors such as female sex, older age, and higher BMI were associated with higher self-reported disordered eating prevalence rates, emphasizing the need for tailored interventions and nutritional support in athletic populations.

“One in 5 athletes run the risk of developing an eating disorder,” the investigators concluded. “Culture-specific and sport-specific diagnostic tools need to be developed and increased attention paid to nutritional deficiencies in athletes.”


Ghazzawi HA, Nimer LS, Haddad AJ, et al. A systematic review, meta-analysis, and meta-regression of the prevalence of self-reported disordered eating and associated factors among athletes worldwideJ Eat Disord. 2024;12(1):24.

Note: This Research Roundup was prepared with the assistance of ChatGPT.

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